Last Friday, I was invited to speak at an awards ceremony for the winners of Colomba Wate, a mobile game in Sinhala. The young entrepreneur had given up a cushy university job to start the company, Gamos Technology Solutions. That was perhaps the main reason I agreed to speak at his event within hours of returning to Sri Lanka.
The slides that I used to illustrate my talk are here. The basic thesis was that the mobile is now becoming more than voice, or even an Aladdin’s Lamp, to use Muhammed Yunus’ phrase. I was followed by two speakers, Daya Rohana Athukorale and Arisen Ahubudu.
The former claimed that of the eight reknown hackers in Australia, seven were Sri Lankans. The latter said that King Dhatusena, 5th Century AD, had used a dura kathana, or a telephonic device. This of course followed his reiterated claim that Wariyapola was the airport used by King Ravana of the Ramayana myth for his aircraft, the Dandu Monara. This stuff is supposed to improve our self-esteem, but really, does it? How acceptable is to tell outright lies and falsehoods to young people in the name of self esteem? Is it not better that we recognize the reality of our existence as a marginal, poor and increasingly mistrusted nation and work hard to change that reality?
The dura kathana claim reminded me of the following joke. The Archeological Survey of India finds some remnants of copper in the Ayodhya area and the Shiv Sena makes a big deal about it saying ancient Indians had telephones based on copper wire. The Pakistan Archeological Survey had found some glass shards in the ruins on Mohendajaro and Harappa so some Pakistani bloggers claim that Pakistan was the first to use fiber optics. The Sri Lankan Department of Archeology is far too intelligent to get distracted by this rubbish and says nothing has been found in Sri Lanka. That’s when the claim is made that Sri Lanka was the world’s pioneer in mobile telephony.